Fly Over the Rainbow to the Playhouse, Edinburgh, to see the wickedly, wonderful musical, Wicked
As a Theatre-lover, I have seen hundreds of musicals over the years and seen many star performers (Michael Crawford in Phantom, Elaine Paige in Sunset Boulevard, Alan Cumming in Cabaret ….), but then I went to see Wicked at the Playhouse. And it blew my socks off!
Of course, it’s already a global smash hit. The original Broadway production (2003) won three Tony Awards while its cast album received a Grammy Award. It celebrated its tenth anniversary on October 30, 2013 making Wicked one of the longest-running Broadway show. Box office records broken around the world – Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, and London.
The inspiration for Wicked takes us back over a century to the original story. L Frank Baum wrote the children’s fairytale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, which turned into a series of 14 books about wizards, witches, scarecrow, tinman, lion and munchkins in the land of Oz.
Baum was apparently a fantasist, a romantic dreamer who followed in the literary footsteps of Hans Anderson and Brothers Grimm delighting in the joy of entertaining children; his son Frank recalled how his father “told us whimsical stories before they became the material for his books”.
I love Judy Garland and her cute dog Toto in the classic 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz – you don’t have to have seen it to enjoy this show, but it helps. Lions, and tiger and bears, oh my!
The musical by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman is based on the novel, “Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witc of the West” by Gregory Maguire, and tells the untold story of the Witches of Oz, how Elphaba becomes the Wicked Witch and Galinda become Glinda, the Good Witch.
The dark, dramatic plot, interspersed with much wit and humour, flows along at a cracking pace by a melodic score, powerful ballads, romantic lyrics and song and dance chorus numbers.
Leading the cast are Emily Tierney as the glamorous Glinda – so reminiscent of Reece Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, – and the brilliantly talented actor/singer Ashleigh Gray as the scary, evil-eyed, green- tinted Elphaba. They are both superstars of the Musical stage.
Wicked is simply bewitching from start to finish. Absolutely, wickedly wonderful and five star fabulous – superb cast, music, songs, set, design, costumes, orchestra …. not forgetting the flying monkeys. Pure magical entertainment for all ages – from around 8 to 88.!
Polish up your broomstick and fly off over the rainbow to the Playhouse before the show ends on 10th January, 2015.